Hendersonville High School Students Donate to Panama Survival Skills Program

June 17, 2016

When Andrew Crockett, 9th grader, was assigned a cultural exploration in poverty project for his Spanish II class at Hendersonville High School, he knew immediately who he could talk to: his dad. Andrew is the son of Phillip Crockett, Just Hope’s Director of Projects, and Andrew was aware that Just Hope had projects in Spanish-speaking countries.

Three hundred Hendersonville High students enrolled in Spanish II were tasked with 1) learning about the causes of poverty in a specific Spanish-speaking country, 2) discovering an organization that was working to cure the poverty, and 3) raising money for that organization. After each of the 10 classes listened to the group presentations in their class, they voted on the one they wanted to support. The teachers then reviewed the winning projects from all classes and made a decision as to where the entire amount of funds raised would go.

Andrew and three classmates in his group learned about the Survival Skills program in Panama, where girls who age out of orphanages are in danger of falling into the traps of human trafficking, prostitution and crime. They also learned about Just Hope’s commitment to giving hands up rather than handouts and the concept of “toxic charity.”

When asked if Andrew’s own dad gives him handouts, Andrew said, “As a teenager, I would really prefer handouts, but no, my parents usually make me work for things.” His own teenage inclinations aside, he said he can see how repeated handouts create unhealthy dependency and rob people of the power to create their own success.

As one of about 75 groups participating in this project, Andrew didn’t know how well his project would fare. But he was pleased when it was announced that his group’s project had been chosen from among all the proposals, and that the Survival Skills program would be receiving a check for $1,131.03.

Ben Turner joined Phillip in a visit to the school to accept the check, express gratitude, and communicate that every dollar raised would go directly to the Survival Skills program in Panama. Over the summer, Laurie Ellsworth will explore ways in which this money can be used, and when the students return to school in the fall, they will be treated to a report on how their generous donation is being used.

Thank you, Hendersonville High School Spanish II students, for your work to empower people in Panama to lift themselves out of poverty!